Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Super Crumb Coffee Cake

Bake my iced pumpkin coffee cake next!

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs!

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

 Because the crumb part… is the best part.

If you’re anything like me, you pick off the crumb topping from your coffee cake.  Or you take the piece with the most crumb topping on it.  If I could make a meal out of crumb topping… believe me, I would.

This is a cinnamon, sugary, buttery crumb-topped coffee cake. Heavy on the crumb.

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today’s coffee cake is an easy-to-follow recipe.  This homemade version of the classic is a far cry from any of those overly-sweet, fake-tasting store bought versions you may be used to. It’s buttery, moist, soft, and pairs well with a morning cup of coffee. Let’s face it, this coffee cake will pair well with an afternoon cup o’ joe too.  Actually, the coffee is optional. You’ll love this cake no matter what you’re drinking with it.

I got the recipe from my favorite cookbook. The bible of baking, I like to call it. A 1,000+ page book of kitchen-tested recipes, tutorials, and baking tips. My Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe – trust me, you need this cookbook. They are the culinary geniuses behind my Death by Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies.

The cookbook doesn’t call this cake “super-crumb.”  I do. I baked the crumb cake in a smaller pan than what the recipe states, making the crumb layer in my version thicker for each piece.  Kevin had a slice and asked if there was more crumb topping leftover. Even the “super crumb” wasn’t enough for him. I knew I was marrying this man for a reason. 😉

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

What makes this coffee cake so easy is that the crumb-topping and cake batter all start in the same bowl.  The crumb topping’s ingredients (butter, flour, & sugar) is essentially the cake’s ingredients without any liquid. A recipe deriving both cake and crumb topping from the same mixture was a selling point for me.

Simply combine your flour, sugar, salt, and cut in the butter. I used a whisk to cut the butter in and a large fork to mix everything around until the mixture resembled course crumbs.  Set aside 1 cup of the crumb mixture and continue with the rest of the cake batter ingredients.

The cup you set aside is your crumb topping. How easy is that?

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

The recipe calls for buttermilk.  There are no substitutions for buttermilk here.  I tried.  Since I no longer work in the office, I had the spare minute to test this recipe a couple of times.  Buttermilk is one of the culprits for how moist the cake’s crumb is.  Trust me, you can’t leave it out!  It’s required for this recipe – the lactic acid present is what will allow the baking soda to react and leaven the cake. If you buy a carton of buttermilk, you can use the extra in my Triple Chocolate Layer Cake.

You can always make your own buttermilk at home using regular milk + lemon juice.  Here’s how I’ve done it before: Measure 2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup.  Then, add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) to the same measuring cup until it reaches 3/4 cup.  Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes.  The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in your recipe.

Another requirement? Room temperature egg.  Don’t worry, I have a shortcut for that too: Place the egg in a bowl of warm/hot water for 5-10 minutes as you get your other ingredients ready. Easy!

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

The original recipe called for nuts, but I chose to leave them out.  I increased the vanilla extract used and the brown sugar used as well. I also increased the cinnamon, as per the usual. Love cinnamon.

This cake is a wonderful option to make ahead the night before brunch or even a holiday breakfast, like Mother’s Day coming soon. If busy mornings are the norm in your house, make this coffee cake ahead of time.  That’s exactly what I did. I made it on Saturday morning and on Sunday, it still tasted incredibly fresh. The crumbs were piled high, the cake hidden underneath was moist and tender, and the taste?  Oh so cinnamon-buttery.

In some bites, the crumb layer was thicker than the cake layer! Amazing.

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Old-fashioned crumb coffeecake at its finest, my friends.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

More breakfast treats to enjoy:

Super-Crumb Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon flour, for coating the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tablespoons (1 and 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, firm and cold
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature1
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature2
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Generously spray a 9-inch springform pan3 with cooking spray or grease with butter. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with 1 Tablespoon of flour and tap out the excess.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl until combined. Cut in the butter in very small pieces using a pastry blender or mix with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of the butter/flour mixture.
  3. Mix the baking powder and baking soda into the remaining flour mixture. Add the room temperature buttermilk, egg, and vanilla - you may want to do this with a mixer. The batter is very, very thick. Vigorously mix everything together until the batter is smooth, fluffy, and resembles frosting - about 2 full minutes. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan, smoothing the top.
  4. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the reserved flour mixture. Toss with a fork until well blended. Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter, pressingly lightly so they stick. Bake the cake until the center is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - 50-58 minutes. Mine took 55 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the springform pan and allow cake to cool completely before serving (about 2 hours).
  5. Make ahead tip: Cake tastes best on day 1 or day 2. The cake may be made 1 day in advance. Store covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Cake can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

1See note in the post about buttermilk substitution.

2See note in the post about bring egg to room temperature quickly.

3Don't have a springform pan? Use a 9x9x2 (not 8-inch) square baking dish.

Update: Crumbs are likely to sink to the bottom of the cake is your butter is not firm enough, therefore making a crumb too soft to stay put on top. You can try using frozen butter and cutting that into the mixture with your pastry blender.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

 

You won’t mind waking up to a few of my similar recipes for breakfast!

Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel Sauce

Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel Sauce

 

Raspberry Chocolate Coffee Cake

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Cake

 

Iced Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Iced Pumpkin Coffee Cake

 

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

 

After one bite of this coffee cake, breakfast will seem like a real treat.

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

382 comments

  1. Sally – you never disappoint!  Your blog is my “go-to” place for pretty much all baked goods.  Your recipes are so approachable… if that makes sense.  I am always baking stuff and taking goodies everywhere, and I always tell people about your blog when they ask where I got the recipe.  
    I’m born and raised in Charleston, SC, so I love those old-school church cookbooks with amazing old-timey family recipes, and YOUR cookbooks sit on my shelf right next to the classics!   
    This cake was absolute perfection – I cooked it in my 10″ springform pan so it cooked slightly quicker.  I am taking it to my office tmrw for coworkers but I did some quality control and it’s so incredibly flaky.  Cutting in the butter is a total game-changer.  I’ll be making this one again!

  2. I had to comment on this cake.  It was wonderful.  I made it for work, exactly as written.  I had a larger pan so I did make 1 1/2x the recipe.  It turned out perfect.  I watched it closely as to not over bake it.  It was gone in minutes!!!!  I just had to comment and tell you thank you for the wonderful Super-Crumb Coffee Cake recipe!!! I will be trying other recipes of yours in the near future.

  3. I loved this cake. The crumb topping is heavenly – so crisp and buttery. I did think that maybe it was a little TOO super-SUPER crumb? I like a little more even cake-to-crumb ratio. Sally, if I wanted a taller cake, would I just reserve less of the flour/butter mixture and then increase the liquid ingredients? Still, this cake was outstanding.

    • I don’t get it. I followed this recipe to the “T” and it came out NOTHING like the one in the photo. The sides were thin, the center was high and the crumb topping never melted and carmelized… it was powdery and thin and YES… I did use 1 1/4 sticks of butter. The cake itself was dry although it tasted ok. I was VERY disappointed with the way it came out. 🙁

  4. So I decided to leave acomment, which I don’t usually do on these things, but when I hit the internet in search of a recipe, I notice I end up here pretty often. Such was the case with this crumb cake. I came. I saw. I made. However, I admittedly did not follow the recipe. The first major difference is that I did not have enough butter, so I used 2 TBLS butter flavord crisco in addition. Second, I did not have enough brown sugar, so I used more white. The result was a a crumb topping that ultimately turned out well. It did lack a bit of depth of flavor without all the brown sugar, but it was sweet, and super crunchy and crispy. Not bad at all. The biggest change I made, however, was that I took an extra cup of the mix away for the crumb topping. I adjusted (mentally, not precisely) as needed. I was a bit worried, but it worked. I got a fully formed crumb topping that ended up crunchy all the way through, rather than sunken into the cake. There was more topping than cake. Seems to be apretty forgiving recipe all in all.

  5. The most delicious cake ever! After making it once, I am continually asked to make it again and again. 

  6. I have a issue  and I hope you can help with this. I followed the recipe exactly, however while the cake is baking the vanilla cake under the crumbs slowly starts to rise from the sides and rises onto the crumbs. This never used to happen the first few times I baked the cake and now suddenly it’s doing it all the time. I’m wondering if you know what I’m doing wrong or how to fix this issue? 

    Thank you! 

    • Yes! Same thing happened to me… And the cake seemed too wet? Like it ended up slightly mushy… I tried baking it for a longer time but it just kept oozing liquid…

      • Hi! I’ve made this cake many times and the same thing happened the past 3 times I’ve made this cake and I’m not sure why this is happening

  7. I really love this recipe and so do my kids but I would like to make muffins instead of the cake. Can you tell me what temperature I should set my convection oven to and an approximate baking time? Thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes. I’ve made so many! I often find other recipes to compare to yours to learn about different ingredients and how they react when baking. But, other recipes lack what yours do not….more detailed explanations in your directions. I like knowing how my batter should look or tips on being careful of what not to do:-) Thanks again, because of you, I’m a much better baker than I thought I would be.

    • Thanks so much Hope! I really, really appreciate your comment. Set the convection to 325. Unsure of the exact bake time, but keep your eye on it around 45 minutes.

  8. Do you think the recipe would still work if I add in 2 cups of blueberries?
    I’ve made your Super Crumb Cake in the past and absolutely loved it.  Now that blueberry season is here, would prefer to use one of your “tried and true” recipes and add in the blueberries.
    What do you think?

    • Hi Sally, 
      Update from my 7/15 comment.
      I did turn this into a Blueberry Crumb cake with excellent results !!
      –I added 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans to the crumb topping.
      –To the batter, I added 1 cup of fresh picked–omg–so delicious–local blueberries which were tossed in a small bowl with 2 TB of flour.
      Using a spatula I carefully folded the blueberries into the batter at the very end.
      –Poured batter into the pan and topped the batter with another 3/4 cup fresh blueberries.
      I initially had 2 cups of blueberries to begin with, so naturally I just had to eat the remaining 1/4 cup.  

      • Oops, something happened to the rest of my comment…??
        Here is the remainder….
        The result was a success.!!  I never EVER “tweak” your recipes but I had a hankering for something with blueberries and it worked.
        I made this a day ahead, on Saturday, for company coming on Sunday–keeping a watchful eye and arguing with my husband to keep away till the company came….
        Needless to say the cake was devoured and there is one lone piece with my name on it waiting for me this morning along with a cup of coffee.
        I was very excited to share the blueberry incorporated results. Thank you Sally.!!

  9. Hi Sally!

    I am constantly picking things to bake from your blog – I adore your recipes, you never disappoint! Although I’m starting to notice a pattern in the constant use of cinnamon haha – not that it’s a problem, I love it as well!

    Now basically this cake came out really tasty, however I fail to understand how these ingredients should form a ‘solid’ crumble? I made the apple crumble pie before and in that recipe the butter is melted and mixed in that way and that did form an awesome crumble, but this one remained a very flour-y powder. I added some of it on top though, but I ended up feeling the flour in the aftertaste of the cake and of course no crumble formed as it all sinked into the cake while baking. I think next time I’ll divide the ingredients in advance and melt the butter for the crumble.

    Anyhow, stay awesome! 🙂

    • Hi Stefania,
      I’ve made this crumb cake twice now and same as you, I thought I wouldn’t have the pretty results of big “crumbles” on top of the cake.  I keep a box of disposable gloves in my kitchen for various food tasks, so with a gloved hand, I grab the crumb mixture by the handful and squeeze it real tight into a big clump–then break it into pieces and scatter over the top of the cake.
      Continue until you run out of the crumb mixture.  This has worked for me both times and the result is a gorgeous, inviting, grab that cup of coffee–crumb cake.
      And of course it’s a win/win because we are using Sally’s recipe.!!  

  10. I doubled this recipe and baked it in a 9 x 13 baking pan and it turned out fantastic! Everyone at worked raved about it. To incorporate the butter better I froze it first and then put it in a food processor. The cake was so buttery and delicious. So glad I tried this recipe, it is a keeper!!

  11. Hi sally
    How much is the butter in cups? Thank u

  12. I have made this recipe a few times and it was absolutely delicious! If I wanted to make it into muffins, how would I do that? 

    • Just put it into muffin tins and adjust the time a little. I do it all the time with cakes and cookies. Make sure to check the center more ofter

  13. I have made this recipe several times now and the last time i made it, it baked differently even when i did everything the same. I am trying to make it in muffin liners mind you so i am hoping i can get some advice on this if anyone has anything.

    Thanks

  14. Hi Sally, I live all of your recipes I tried so far. I tried this coffee crumb cake, the cake came out great but the crumb part was too powdery and not crumby, the sugar did not really melt on top of the cake. Can you tell me what I did wrong please 

  15. Hi Sally!

    Could you tell me how many cups/grams is 10 Tbs of butter? Thanks a lot!

  16. Oh, Sally!  I just discovered your page!  The things you bake!!!  I can hear my hips groaning!

  17. Sally, this is another winner. Then again, all your recipes are. I made this a day before I was going to serve it and it was “out of this world” on the second day. Unfortunately (fortunately) plans changed and my girlfriends are coming after Christmas which left the cake for me and my family. This is by far the best crumb cake I’ve ever tasted. Even my grandchildren agree. The amount of crumbs was great and the cake was moist and crumbly. I had three pieces before I gave it to my daughter and her family. I had to give it to them because I probably would have eaten the cake within two days. Thanks for a wonderful recipe. I wish you and your family a Happy Holiday.

    • Ann, so happy to hear you loved this recipe so much! Sounds like you will have to make it again for your rescheduled visit with friends 🙂 Happy holidays to you!

  18. Hey Sally,

    This recipe is awesome. I make a new recipe from your site every weekend and so far they have all been a success.

    Thanks!

  19. Seriously why did it take me this long to bake this recipe?  I made gluten free blueberry muffins, your buttery blueberry muffins and this delicious super crumb coffe cake.  Normally there are lots of leftovers.  Today was my first time to bring goodies.  I heard, “This is REALLY good!” from a few people.  The Coffee Crumb Cake stole the show.  So delicious and my husband went back for seconds.  I was proud of my self for only taking one bite.  The recipe will be going in my go to recipes.

  20. Hey Sally I have a question. I would like to try this cake for breakfast tomorrow but my whole family has a gluten allergy. Could I replace the flour with gluten free or would it harm the cake?

  21. I have been so pleased with so many of your recipes that when my 11-year old son asked to make cinnamon coffee cake this morning, I directed him to your website. (He is a budding chef/baker!) I was so proud watching him as he tackled measuring correctly, cutting in the butter, and spooning the batter into the pan. It came out great! It is now his g0-to for coffee cake and will have a place in his newly created cookbook (a binder with his favorite recipes). Thanks for all the great recipes AND the science and great tips to make things go more smoothly!

  22. Hi Sally,

    Is it possible to make “buttermilk” as you describe with almond milk?

    Thanks!

  23. Hey Sally! Any idea how I can turn this into a lemon coffee cake? Of course add lemon juice and zest, but any help on proportions? I don’t want to mess up the texture – that’s why I love this cake! Thank you for your help 🙂

  24. Made this for the third time today. Love this recipe!! Each bite is tastebud nirvana. And, My house is filled with the perfume of sugar and cinnamon!  I added our fresh picked blueberries for a little bit of a tart bite.  I noticed in some of the comments  some people were having problems with the crumb topping sinking into the cake. I find if you use the right sized pan that gives the cake room to expand up and out, this may prevent it from collapsing in on itself. Happened to me when using a loaf pan instead of a round or square pan. Just a thought. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  25. Hello Sally. I hope you aren’t in the middle of labor right now with baby Quinn. Super cute name btw as I should know; I was a nursery RN for many years. I anxiously await my copy of your latest book to arrive any day now. I am making several of your goodies to donate in a basket for a small charity basket. So thank you! I am making your coffee cake, lemon bread and apple bread. Do you have any other suggestions that would hold up for a few hours in the sun? Maybe one of your bars perhaps? Thank you and congrats again!!!! Leah

  26. Has anyone tried making this and freezing it? It sounds so good, and I want to make it for a brunch with friends coming up in a few weeks. But I’d need to make it on a Thursday, Friday is a travel day, and the brunch is on Saturday. Anxious to know if this will freeze and travel well.

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